Meeting Minutes : Water & Sewer Commission

January 25, 2011


Water and Sewer Commission Members Present – Allen Hitchcock, John Lapre, Hope Rantanen, Bob Harnish, and Helen McKinlay. Others present:  Dorothy Parkinson, John Haverstock, and Kelly Giard – Recording Secretary.

Allen Hitchcock, Chairman, called the meeting to order at 6:30 PM.



The minutes from the December 14, 2010 meeting were signed with no corrections.


Town Managers Report:

J. Haverstock reported on the following items:

  • A representative from NEMRC (the financial computer software company) has been working with Mark Youngstrom and Linda Drummond with regard to the utility billing system.  A meeting was held and it appears that the metering revenues will fall roughly 25% less than the budgeted amount based on water rates recently adopted.  These rates were discussed further and a decision will be needed.
  • The project to convert the sludge bagging room to offices for the Water Department is awaiting approval from the Planning Commission at their meeting on January 27, 2011.  When the Town approves the permit, there will be a pre-bid meeting at the facility on February 2, 2011 with interested contractors.
  • The concrete floor for the chlorine contact chamber has been poured, and, currently, the walls are being poured.  A project status meeting is scheduled for January 26, 2011 at 9:00 AM.
  • Rep. Shaw and Sen. Flory met with the Select Board to discuss the Proctor Water situation.  There is currently a Steering Committee that has been formed and has met to explore alternative solutions.  The Steering Committee will be communicating with the affected users in the very near future.  A. Hitchcock inquired what the timing is from Proctor.  J. Haverstock indicated that there has been no information received from Proctor, however, their attorney called and was referred to the Steering Committee and its attorney.
  • The budgets for all departments were recently approved by the Select Board and will be placed on the agenda for Town Meeting.


Public Comment:

Ms. Parkinson inquired if the revenue received from OMYA was sufficient to cover the water usage.  J. Haverstock reported that, although OMYA is a large customer, much of the water used at the facility is recycled numerous times in its processes.  Ms. Parkinson inquired if there was a larger meter, possibly a with more digits installed at OMYA to accurately meter the water usage.  J. Haverstock indicated that this issue was reviewed by Mark Youngstrom and the meter installed is adequate to measure the usage.


Update on Project Status:

J. Haverstock indicated that the automated controls are still to be installed in Florence; the spring timeframe for the construction of the proposed replacement services is still in place. J. Haverstock indicated that this project will affect approximately 7 houses.  There appears to be another $80,000 in available grant funds.


Discussion of Metering & Billing:

J. Haverstock indicated that he met with Mark Youngstrom and Chip from NEMRC to review the anticipated revenues based on the metered usage trends.  J. Haverstock presented a potential new rate structure and explained the reasoning.  A. Hitchcock indicated that the rates will need review and assessment regularly.


Ms. Parkinson discussed the metering rates as being based on unfair comparisons to 3-4 bedroom homes in Chittenden County and noted that the households in Pittsford are different and have, on average, 2.5 occupants.


Ms. Parkinson indicated that on December 28, 2010, Jackson from MBS was at her house and felt that her pipes and plumbing were not an issue and that a meter could be installed.  Ms. Parkinson felt that “Matt” (the initial serviceman) did not have adequate experience in making these decisions.  Bruce Babcock was consulted and felt that the installation should wait until springtime, so the curb stop could be accessed to shut off the service to the house prior to installation, in case of a line break.


There was much discussion concerning the billing process. B. Harnish inquired about the State estimate for single occupant usages.  J. Lapre indicated that this is 75 gallons per day.


Motion by J. Lapre and seconded by H. Rantanen to approve the proposed revised rate sheet, devised by Mark Youngstrom as presented.  The motion provides that for those that have meters installed in the spring, a credit would be available in the event that it appears that actual usage was less than that assumed in the rate sheet. Motion passed unanimously 5 – 0.


Motion by A. Hitchcock and seconded by B. Harnish to impose a restriction that anyone who does not have a proper meter installed, ownership may not change until such a meter is installed.  Motion passed unanimously 5 – 0.  A. Hitchcock indicated that the VLCT has been consulted and there are no legal issues with this being imposed.


Hydro-Study Proposal:

J. Haverstock indicated that he has spoken with Mark Youngstrom concerning this project and the initial cost to assess the viability of a hydroelectric dam to use the Proctor water source flow from Chittenden would be roughly $2,000 for the engineering.

There was discussion concerning this topic and the decision was to postpone further action until Proctor’s plans became clearer.

Temporary Water Permit:

J. Haverstock reminded the Commission that the Town is currently operating on a Temporary Water Permit and the applications are in process for obtaining a permanent permit for operations.



Update on Project Status:

J. Haverstock read an update e-mail from Mike Smith with regard to the sewer project.  The following are highlights from this update:

  • The Grant Loan Agreement has been executed.  There will be $750,000 in grant funds for the Sewer Project.  J. Haverstock explained the reimbursement procedures as explained by Mr. Smith.  The loan agreement was also signed for $1,242,000 to be borrowed at 3% for a 30-year term.
  • There will be a project update meeting on January 26, 2011 at 9:00 AM, after which, Linda Drummond will be meeting with Mr. Smith with regard to the project accounting process.
  • Daniels Construction experienced a bit of a weather lag, however, work is progressing.  There was a $15,000 change order for stairs and flood lights at the rear of the Chlorine Contact Chamber.
  • Weston & Sampson has contracted with Bohn & Associates to test the concrete.  This contract will be roughly $4,000 for the work and is eligible for grant funds.
  • Phase 2 will be 100% design complete by the end of January.  There is anticipation that the ads will go out in late March or early April.  Rural Development will be contacted with regard to the Plains Road project.  The Select Board had no objection to including the Plains Road portion in the project as a bid alternate.

A. Hitchcock inquired what the availability of “extra” grant funds would or could cover.  J. Haverstock indicated that he would consult Mr. Smith on this concern and advise at a future meeting.  There was discussion that the Depot Hill pump station would be a project to use some of these funds, if approved.


Funding Application – Interim Funding:

J. Haverstock indicated that local banks and lending institutions have been contacted and interim funding approval is anticipated any day.

Review of ANR Position Regarding Penalty Funds:

This topic was deferred to Executive Session.

Water and Sewer:

None stated at this time.


None stated at this time

Executive Session

Motion by H. Rantanen and seconded by A. Hitchcock to enter into Executive Session for the purpose of legal matters.  The Water and Sewer Commission entered into Executive Session at 7:30 PM.  J. Haverstock was invited to stay.


The Water and Sewer Commission came out of Executive Session at 7:41 PM, with no action taken.



The Commission adjourned at 7:41 PM.

The next meeting will be held on February 15, 2011.

Respectfully Submitted



Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary


Allen Hitchcock, Chair



John Lapre, Vice Chair



Hope Rantanen



Helen McKinlay



Bob Harnish